Title:
Chain exerciser and trainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A chain exerciser and trainer is described. The chain exerciser and trainer has a handle portion constructed to be gripped by a user's hands. The handle can resemble the handle of the sports equipment used in the sport for which a user is training. Attached to the handle are one or more chains. The initial chain links are small and lightweight. However, as the links progress outwards away from the handle they increase in size and mass. The resulting device provides free-flowing variable resistance instead of dead weight. This configuration allows the exercise movements to be as fast as possible while still offering a high resistance at the right time. The faster an athlete moves this device, the higher the resistance that will be encountered. This makes the chain exerciser and trainer perfect for simultaneous speed and strength development.



Inventors:
Miyahira, Kelvin (Pearl City, HI, US)
Application Number:
12/002243
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
12/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/072
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TECCO, ANDREW M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kelvin Miyahira (Pearl City, HI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A chain exerciser and trainer, comprising: a handle component having a first end and a second end; a chain component having at least a first segment of chain and a second segment of chain; the first segment of chain having a first gauge and the second segment of chain having a second gauge, wherein the first gauge is different from the second gauge and the first segment of chain is attached to the second segment of chain; and wherein the chain component extends out from the first end of the handle component.

2. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 1, wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a tennis racquet handle.

3. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 1, wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a golf club handle.

4. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 1, wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a baseball bat handle.

5. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 1, wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a softball bat handle.

6. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 1, wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a hockey stick handle.

7. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 1, further comprising: a second chain component having at least a third segment of chain and a fourth segment of chain, wherein the gauge of the third segment of chain is different from the gauge of the fourth segment of chain and the third segment of chain is attached to the fourth segment of chain; and wherein the second chain component extends out from the second end of the handle component.

8. A chain exerciser and trainer, comprising: a handle component having a first end and a second end, and wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a handle of an item of sports equipment; a chain component having at least a first segment of chain and a second segment of chain; the first segment of chain having a first gauge and the second segment of chain having a second gauge, wherein the first gauge is different from the second gauge and the first segment of chain is attached to the second segment of chain; and wherein the chain component extends out from the first end of the handle component.

9. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 8, wherein the item of sports equipment is a tennis racquet.

10. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 8, wherein the item of sports equipment is a golf club.

11. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 8, wherein the item of sports equipment is a baseball bat.

12. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 8, wherein the item of sports equipment is a softball bat.

13. The chan exerciser and trainer of claim 8, wherein the item of sports equipment is a hockey stick.

14. A chain exerciser and trainer, comprising: a handle component having a first end and a second end, and wherein the handle component is shaped and sized to resemble a handle of an item of sports equipment; a chain component having at least a first segment of chain, a second segment of chain, a third segment of chain, and a fourth segment of chain; each segment of chain having a gauge, wherein the gauges of the segments of chain are different from each other and the first segment of chain is attached to the second segment of chain and the second segment of chain is attached to the third segment of chain and the third segment of chain is attached to the fourth segment of chain; and wherein the chain component extends out from the first end of the handle component.

15. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 14, wherein the item of sports equipment is a tennis racquet.

16. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 14, wherein the item of sports equipment is a golf club.

17. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 14, wherein the item of sports equipment is a baseball bat.

18. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 14, wherein the item of sports equipment is a softball bat.

19. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 14, wherein the item of sports equipment is a hockey stick.

20. The chain exerciser and trainer of claim 14, wherein the handle component is bent or curved.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates generally to the exercise, sports and training industries and more particularly to a chain exerciser and trainer.

BACKGROUND

As professional sports become more and more competitive, athletes must train and improve their skills continually if they want to stay in the game. In fact, athletes at all levels must spend many hours each week in training in order to remain competitive. As the level of competition has grown, simply spending time “in the gym” or “exercising” is no longer sufficient for an athlete to remain competitive. Instead, experts insist that athletes must focus on exercising “smarter and more efficiently” instead of just “more.”

Sports scientists and conditioning experts have developed very effective training exercises and programs to increase linear speed—i.e. sprinting in a straight or diagonal line, vertical jumps, long jumps, etc. However, no effective methods have yet been developed to help athletes increase the speeds at which they can execute complex, multi-joint, multi-plane movements (e.g., throwing, kicking, paddling and swinging bats/clubs/rackets), especially in highly trained, high-level athletes. The main reason why increasing the speeds of complex athletic movements has been so challenging is that no existing conditioning methods or devices are both specific enough and fast enough to stimulate a body to perform at increased speeds while working against high resistance levels.

Traditional training methods involving weights, medicine balls, resistance cords or bands, etc. are too slow to adequately train a body to accelerate a racket, golf club, etc. from rest to contact speed in the necessary fraction of a second (e.g., a tennis racket should reach full contact speed in one tenth of one second). For example, consider a typical weight training exercise such as the bench press. The total time involved in one repetition of the exercise can be one to two seconds—ten to twenty times slower than many of the movements for which an athlete is training.

According to the physiological principles the body uses to generate “complex” speed, the most direct and most effective training method to increase racket speed (or any complex athletic movement like bat speed, etc.) must integrate at least four key elements. First, an athlete should train using the exact movement pattern that he or she will be using in the chosen sport. For example, a tennis athlete needs to train stroke muscles, not bench press muscles. Training exercises should recruit the exact nerve pathways and muscles involved in a given movement. Second, training exercises should be executed at “event speeds.” This means that the repetitions for any racket speed training exercise, for example, would be performed in only one tenth of one second (or faster). An athlete would likely tear his or her pectorals or triceps trying to perform the bench press at this speed. Third, a training regiment should trigger the same muscle contraction type as that used in the sporting event. Again using tennis as an example: the athlete should train the muscles that contract during a serve, not those used in the bench press. Training exercises must trigger the Strength-Shorten Cycle (SSC) that powers every complex athletic movement and directly stimulates the exact type of muscle contraction used to produce the movement. And fourth, a training program should “overload” the muscles that will be utilized in order to produce more force during the actual event. Training exercises must deliver higher resistances than those experienced during the actual event in order to stimulate increased force production by the muscles producing the movement.

Thus, lifting weights, while a useful and generally positive training and exercising regiment, is really just a “shotgun” approach to sport-specific training. The athlete builds and develops many muscles, but trains those muscles to react slowly and to move in the patterns necessary to lift the weights, not to respond in fractions of a second and make the specific, complex movements that are executed in competitive sports. While many other training and exercising regiments and devices exist besides weight lifting, they all fail to address the four key elements described above. For example, there are previous devices known in the art that have utilized chains (e.g., “Louie Simmons” weightlifting chains). However, those devices focus on strength development and do not address speed or acceleration. Furthermore, the chains employed are heavy, fixed-size chains intended to increase the weights used in powerlifting and do not address the four elements above.

“Speed training,” an effort to recognize and respond to at least some of the above elements, has come to the forefront of the art in the past two decades. In an effort to bridge the gap between strength and speed, plyometrics were first introduced from Russia in the 1980s. Also known as shock or jump training, they were initially considered a radical form of power training but are now well known and used by strength coaches and athletes around the globe. Some plyometrics involve medicine balls, some require boxes (for jumping on and off) and some do not use any overload. These are useful exercises that make training for speed and power somewhat more efficient versus older methods and devices. However, medicine ball exercises are a bit slow and are in need of more speed. Box plyometrics are seen as very intense but bring the potential for impact injuries from the landings. And if there is no overload on the exercise, there is certain inefficiency because in order to get any training benefit the volume of work must be higher. Although useful, standard plyometrics do not provide a complete solution.

Therefore, an exercising and training device is needed that will address these longstanding challenges in athletic conditioning.

SUMMARY

Embodiments described and claimed herein address the foregoing challenges by providing a chain exerciser and trainer. The chain exerciser and trainer delivers on all four required training elements of complex speed development described above. The device possesses the dynamic, variable resistance that is necessary to satisfy all four elements. Training with the chain exerciser and trainer simulates the exact movement patterns of the sport in question. Execution of training exercises can be accomplished at high contraction speeds. The chain exerciser and trainer stimulates activation of the SSC in the muscles being trained while providing the overloading necessary to improve the contraction force of those muscles.

The chain exerciser and trainer has a handle portion constructed to be extremely lightweight and yet strong. This configuration provides an athlete with an exerciser and trainer having almost no dead weight at the beginning of the movement. The handle portion can be shaped and sized to resemble the handle of any piece of sports equipment used by an athlete, including, but not limited to: a tennis racquet, a golf club, a baseball bat, a softball bat, a hockey stick, a lacrosse stick, a field hockey stick, a weight bar, a racquetball racquet, etc. The handle portion can also be shaped and sized so as to fit comfortably across the top of a user's shoulders. Attached to the handle are one or more chains. The initial chain links are small and lightweight. However, as the links progress outwards, away from the handle, they increase in mass. The resulting device provides free-flowing variable resistance instead of dead weight. This configuration allows the exercise movements to be as fast as possible while still offering a high resistance at the right time. Compared to exercises with resistance bands or rubber tubing, which provide only unidirectional resistance, the chains allow for working in two directions concentrically. And unlike free weights that offer positive resistance on the upward motion and negative resistance on the downward direction, chains provide an oscillating resistance that works the athlete in two directions simultaneously.

Another unique attribute is that unlike typical isotonic devices where the heavier weights are moved slower than the lighter weights, the faster an athlete moves this device, the higher the resistance that will be encountered. This makes the chain exerciser and trainer perfect for simultaneous speed and strength development.

The chain exerciser and trainer also enhances the ability of athletes to exercise and train while undergoing injury rehabilitation. An athlete can test his or her injured limb or muscle against the resistance slowly at first to get low resistance and then faster to meet greater resistance as the injury heals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The aforementioned and other features and objects of the present invention and the manner of attaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following description of a preferred embodiment and other embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a view of an exemplary embodiment of a chain exerciser and trainer utilizing a single chain component.

FIG. 2 illustrates a view of an exemplary embodiment of a chain exerciser and trainer utilizing dual chain components.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In one embodiment, a chain exerciser and trainer utilizes a handle and a single chain component having a gradually increasing chain link-weight or “gauge.” Although different gauges of chain are often different in size, it is more critical that they have differing masses. In this embodiment, it is preferable for the handle to be between ten and twenty inches in length and even more preferable for the handle length to be approximately fifteen inches. Furthermore, the chain component has a preferable length of between twenty-five and thirty-five feet with an even more preferable length of approximately thirty feet. In other embodiments, the handle and chain components have other lengths.

The handle is composed of molded polyurethane in one embodiment. In another embodiment, the handle is formed from lightweight aluminum. Other handle materials are contemplated. The handle can be shaped to closely resemble the handle of the device used by the athlete in the sport for which he or she is training. For example, in one embodiment, the handle is shaped from a straight tube such that it resembles the handle of a tennis racquet. In yet another embodiment, the handle is shaped using bent tubing to aid in delivering an increased rotational resistance. Such an increase in rotational resistance can enhance the efficacy of training exercises employing a chain exerciser and trainer since the resulting movements more closely mirror typical sports movements and joint-angle rotations. In another embodiment, the handle is curved or bent.

FIG. 1 illustrates a view of an exemplary embodiment of a chain exerciser and trainer utilizing a single chain component. The primary components shown in FIG. 1 include: a handle 110 and a series of chain links making up a chain component 120.

The handle 110 should be sized and shaped to mirror the device utilized in the sport the training for which the chain exerciser and trainer is being employed. For example, when using the device to train for tennis, the handle 110 should most preferably be sized and shaped to approximate the handle of a tennis racket. Other sizes and shapes of handles 110 are contemplated. For example, in one embodiment, the chain exerciser and trainer has a long handle component designed to be held by an athlete's two, widely-spaced hands. In this embodiment, two chain components 120 are utilized; one attached to each end of the handle (see FIG. 2 below). In another embodiment, the handle 110 is shaped using bent tubing to enhance rotational resistance.

As shown in FIG. 1, a number of chain links of varying size and mass make up the chain component 120. The chain links should be constructed so as to minimize the potential hazard of catching and pinching the clothing or person of an athlete. The initial chain link attaches to the end of the handle 110. Various means for attaching the chain link are contemplated. A preferred means is to secure an eyebolt 114 to a threaded nipple 116 using epoxy. The nipple 116 can then be secured to the handle 110 using epoxy as well. The chain component 120 is easily attached to the eyebolt 114 by simply closing the initial chain link around and through the eye of the eyebolt 114.

As the links in the chain component 120 progress outwards from the handle they increase in size and mass. The rate of this increase is dependent upon the exact use to which the particular embodiment of the chain exerciser and trainer is to be put. For example, a chain exerciser and trainer configured to be used by a high-level professional tennis player to increase his serve speed and strength has a preferred weight of approximately twenty-five pounds. Furthermore, it has up to fourteen different sizes of chain links, each link size making up a chain segment and the segments forming the chain. A single chain segment can be composed of as little as one link of chain or any number greater than one. As another example, a chain exerciser and trainer to be used by a beginner golfer to increase her driver speed and strength will have a preferred weight of approximately twenty-one pounds. Furthermore, in other embodiments the chain exerciser and trainer can utilize chains having links of various sizes, shapes, and weights.

It is preferable to utilize a number of differently sized and weighted chain links or “gauges” of chain to form the chain component 120. In one embodiment, the following sizes (listed from smallest to largest) are used: #4, #3, #2, #1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0, ¼ inch, 5/16 inch, ⅜ inch, 7/16 inch, and ½ inch.

The length of a chain segment that utilizes a single gauge can vary. For example, in one embodiment of a chain exerciser and trainer, fourteen different gauges of chain are used, each segment of a particular gauge of chain having a length of approximately twenty-four inches. It is preferable to vary the lengths of the smallest segments in order to customize a chain exerciser and trainer to more closely match the needs of an individual athlete. However, each gauge segment can have its length adjusted as needed. As another example, a device for use by a tennis player may have a longer chain segment utilizing gauge #4 chain while a device for use by a golfer may not utilize a gauge #4 segment whatsoever.

FIG. 2 illustrates a view of an exemplary embodiment of a chain exerciser and trainer utilizing dual chain components. In the embodiment in FIG. 2, a handle 210 can have attached thereto two or more chain components 220 and 230. The handle 210 can be a straight tubular component, or it can utilize angled end portions, as shown in FIG. 2. Other shapes and lengths of handle are contemplated. The body of the handle 210 has a preferable diameter or outside dimension that provides a comfortable gripping surface for the user's hands. In other embodiments, differently sized handles are contemplated. For example, the handle could be designed using ergonomic principles in order to minimize the forces placed on the user's wrists. In another embodiment, the handle is shaped so that it rests comfortably across the user's shoulders, in a manner similar to that of a curved weight bar as currently utilized in the field of weight lifting.

As in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the links in chain components 220 and 230 increase in gauge size as they progress outwards from the handle 210. The rate of this increase is dependent upon the use to which the particular embodiment of the chain exerciser and trainer is to be put. Furthermore, although it is preferable that chain segments generally increase in gauge as they extend out from the handle, it is contemplated that one or more chain segments could vary from this general rule of construction. Furthermore, it is possible to utilize more or less than fourteen gauges of chain in each chain component 220 and 230.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of a chain exerciser and trainer utilizing two chain components 220 and 230. Devices utilizing three, four, or even five or more chain components are contemplated.

The above specification, examples and data provide a description of the structure and use of exemplary embodiments of the described articles of manufacture and methods. Many embodiments can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.